Report: Private educational provider threatens online forum with defamation

Choo Zheng Xi / Editor-in-chief

Despite claiming to provide accreditation to the UK Institute of Linguists, the private education provider does not seem to know how to spell.

This article will be progressively updated. Check back at a later time for more updates.

PRIVATE Education provider Harriet Educational Group has engaged lawyers to threaten defamation actions against popular local current affairs discussion forum SGforums.

(Graphic: Web banner on Harriet’s website.)

The lawyer’s letter to SGforums allege that a number of postings about Harriet Educational Group “impute improper, unethical, and even criminal behaviour” to the school. It demands that the website pay damages to be negotiated, as well as legal costs to date.

The letter also demands that the forum disclose the full names and particulars of the persons who made the comments.

The website of Harriet Educational Group claims that its job consultancy subsidiary “provides our students a written job guarantee in the United States, Australia, China, India or Singapore” for participants of their “Global Guarantee Job Program”.

Although Harriet’s website touts a translation certification recognized by the UK Institute of Linguistics, Harriet’s website contains several glaring grammatical and spelling errors. Under the section on its vision statement, it claims “we are committed that all our students received an International qualifications recognized by universities and professional institutions and employers worldwide”. (underline added)

It further states that “We will advice prospetive students on pre-requisites and requirements applicable to the various courses” and that they are “committed to protest students againts non-conformance to course guidelines”. (underline added)

Harriet Educational Group is no stranger to controversy. The Straits Times reported on September 15 2008 that at least nine people filed police reports against the school. The complainants claimed that Harriet used false testimonials to entice them to fork out money to be a licensed agent of the school.

A blog post on the Harriet Educational Group blog dated September 2008 advertised a position as an “Educational consultant promising that applicants could earn $10,000 a month if they forked out $56,000 in capital. In broken English, the advertisement reads:

“Are you still wished to become a Harriet Educational Consultant? Are wished you could earn at least $10,000 a month with Harriet Educational Group? Are you able to fork out $56K as capital or take an education loan to be an Education Consultant?”

A review of Harriet posted on an Indian website for Indian nationals looking to study overseas complained that for specialization courses such as an MBA, the school does not promise teaching staff unless there is a minimum class size of eight. The commentor, Sunish, noted that some of the programmes the school offered were good, but the college staff seemed more interested in meeting sales targets. He felt that college representatives were “just salesmen waiting to make a sale”.

Have you had a bad experience with Harriet Educational Group, or do you know people who have? Send tip-offs and information about complaints regarding the private educational service provider to [email protected]

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